Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) said on Monday that the large-scale Israeli security operation in Jenin won’t achieve its goals. The two Iranian-backed groups said their “fighters” were determined to make all sacrifices to foil the operation.
Hamas and PIJ also reportedly notified Egypt and other mediators that they may attack Israel from the Gaza Strip or Lebanon if the operation in Jenin continues.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Monday evening that at least eight Palestinians were killed and 50 injured, 10 of them seriously, since the beginning of the operation.
The slain Palestinians were identified as Sameeh Firas Abu al-Wafa, 21, Aws Hani Hanoun, 19, Hossam Abu Theebeh, 18, Nour Eddin Marshoud, 16, Mohammed Muhanad Shami, 23, Ahmed al-Amer, 21, Ali Hani al-Ghul, 17, and Majdi Ararawi, 17.
The Palestinian Authority leadership, whose representatives strongly condemned the Israeli counterterrorism operation, held an emergency meeting in Ramallah on Monday evening to discuss ways of responding to the events in Jenin.
In a statement before the meeting, PA President Mahmoud Abbas renewed his call for providing international protection for the Palestinians. He also called for imposing sanctions on Israel and denouncing the “terror aggression” on Jenin.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Palestinian leadership was in contact with a number of “friendly countries” to end the operation, which he denounced as “a new crime.”
Shtayyeh claimed that Israel was seeking to eradicate the Jenin Refugee Camp and displace its residents.
Earlier, the PA urged the US and the international community to intervene immediately to halt the Israeli security operation in Jenin.
“Security and peace won’t be achieved in the region unless our Palestinian people feel them,” said PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh in an initial response to the Israeli operation, which he denounced as “a new war crime against our people.”
Abu Rudaineh said the Palestinians “won’t surrender and will remain steadfast on their land in facing this [Israeli] aggression.”
He called on the international community to end its “shameful silence” and move to end the security operation and hold Israel accountable for its “crimes.”
The Palestinian foreign ministry called on the US and the international community to intervene urgently to end the Israeli raid on Jenin. The Ministry held the Israeli government fully responsible for the repercussions of its “crimes” against the residents of Jenin.
It further called on the International Criminal Court to “end its silence and start holding Israeli war criminals accountable.”
The ruling Fatah faction headed by Abbas condemned the Israeli operation, saying it won’t discourage it from continuing to defend the rights of the Palestinians “until they achieve freedom and independence.”
Last week, a Palestinian security source told The Jerusalem Post that “Iran was already in the West Bank,” reference to the growing power of PIJ and Hamas there.
In the past 18 months, PIJ has managed to establish several armed cells and recruit dozens of gunmen in the areas of Jenin and Nablus, the source said. PIJ has become a dominant force in the northern West Bank, largely thanks to the financial aid it receives from Iran, the source added.
The source expressed concern over growing cooperation between PIJ and Fatah gunmen in the northern West Bank. According to the source, several Fatah gunmen have joined the Jenin Battalion, a group dominated by PIJ operatives.
Hamas and PIJ said the Israeli operation will fail and won’t achieve its goals.
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said that Jenin and other Palestinian communities will continue the “revolution and intifada notwithstanding the crimes of the occupation.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who is based in Doha, Qatar, said in a statement early Monday that the events in Jenin “will define the nature of the upcoming phase in all directions and tracks.”
Haniyeh said that the Palestinian “resistance knows how to respond to this aggression.” He called on Palestinians in the West Bank to support Jenin and “defend its residents to foil the schemes of the occupation.”
PIJ said in an initial response to the raid that Jenin “won’t surrender.”
PIJ which has scores of gunmen in the Jenin Refugee Camp, said the “fighters are determined to confront [the Israeli troops] regardless of the sacrifices.”
“All options are open to strike at the enemy in response to its aggression on Jenin,” PIJ cautioned. “The aggression won’t achieve its goals and Jenin will remain steadfast. The Zionist enemy bears full responsibility for the consequences of this aggression.”
Last weekend, PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhaleh revealed that his organization was arming Fatah groups in the West Bank. “Palestinian Islamic Jihad has worked and is working to form combat battalions in all Palestinian cities in the West Bank, and the size and ability of these battalions vary from one place to another, according to our ability to arm them,” Nakhaleh said in an interview with an Iranian newspaper shortly after visiting Tehran and meeting with Iranian leaders.